University of Akron:
This is the first tournament hosted by Akron since Spring of 2019. Akron looks to bounce back after falling to two top-five power ranked teams at the Buckeye Opener. This team has many veterans from pre-covid with a lot of dodgeball experience under their belts, so expect a strong showing in their home venue. Captain Clay Egleston has put in a lot of work to teach the large rookie class Akron’s brand of dodgeball while knocking off the rust and further refining the skills of veterans. Look for captains KC Franz and Brandon Snyder to contribute to the strong leadership of this club. Standouts like Tommy Masteller, PJ Antalek, Reece Bowman and Matt Young will be relied upon heavily if Akron wants to climb the rankings. Keep an eye out for Wyatt Robinson and Arik Kavanaugh to make some clutch plays. Perhaps the biggest question mark for Akron is their large rookie class. Can they rise to the occasion? Rookies Alexis Schultz, Bradley Fischbach, Logan Sims, and Cooper Sites are trying to find their role on this team. With absences of key players Alex Acevado and Nathan “Howdy” Houdeshell, which one of these rookies will step-up and make plays? These rookies could be the difference maker Akron needs to rise the ranks and become one of the top competitors in the Ohio region.
Bowling Green State University:
Our team this year is something very unique, we have a total of 5 returning players on this roster. Having said that, we also have a full roster which will include 13 freshmen who will make their first appearance at the Pink Out. Some rookies to keep an eye on for the tournament are Tyler Webb, Camen Cline, and Logan Gerardot. All of our rookies have an arsenal of different talents and we’re looking to come out of the gate surprising everyone this weekend.
The 2021-2022 dodgeball season will show Miami as a brand new team. With only five returners (two are currently injured/sick), this year’s team is full of new and developing members. Anna Moellenbeck heads the team as captain. Both her and assistant captain Elly Schipfer have been seen on the NCDA’s Women’s All American List for the 19-20 season. The veterans to keep your eye on should be Sean Mesue and Mason Kniskern. Kicking off his third year at Miami, Sean not only takes people out with his strange throws and well-timed crosses, but also knows the game in and out. Mason is currently out with a hand injury, but his leadership on the court along with his raw talent cannot be overlooked. With a new team comes new potential; There are a few rookies to watch for: freshman Cole Ginocchio, Max Edling, and John Rick have never played before, but with every practice they improve significantly. They’ll definitely be all-stars in the league- it’ll just take some time.
Cleveland State University:
We are looking to grow and get our first tournament experience this year. This tournament will be the first for the majority of our team. We are excited to learn and grow from playing competitive teams that will challenge us in each aspect of the game. We have several returning members who are big playmakers. Kevin Premsook, Kyle Wiesmore, and Will Fraizer are looking to make an impact in our matches. One of several standout freshmen who I would like to highlight is William McCartney. William plays with a dodgeball IQ far beyond his experience. His dedication and willingness to learn make him unique. I am excited to see the player that he will become.
It is clear that Akron seems to be in the best position coming into the weekend, since they have the most returners and a tournament under their belts. I believe the rookies will have the second tournament leap when it comes to skill and understanding the pace of play. I also expect the young squads of BGSU and Miami to turn some heads, still as they both have a knack for recruiting athletes and smart players to their rosters. To me, CSU is a bit of an unknown. It seemed like pre-pandemic they were starting to catch their stride, with their top players performing well, and their bottom half of the roster holding their own. With these teams having almost entirely new rosters, anything can happen this weekend when these schools collide.